I am on the fence with this one - if I could, I would have given it 2.5 stars, but it's not because anything is wrong with the book, it just that I diI am on the fence with this one - if I could, I would have given it 2.5 stars, but it's not because anything is wrong with the book, it just that I didn't seem to connect much to it.
Maybe my expectations were off; it was definitely not the book I thought it would be, and it is probably my fault. The title and back cover made me think, for some reason, that this would be a whole lot more philosophical than it turned out to be.
Also, I had some trouble connecting with the narrating - I don't know if it's Murakami's style of writing (this is my first Murakami and, clearly, this is very different than his other works. I have the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles waiting on the shelf), the form of book, or the translation (I don't know Japanese, but some sentences seemed a bit off for me).
There were quite a few parts I truly enjoyed - some very charming descriptions and some sentences that made me laugh out loud (literally). However, they were sporadic in a way that sometimes made me wonder whether this book was written in gusts of effort (well, clearly it was, as mentioned in the forward and afterward), that the editing process did nothing to balance the different moods. It's not written in a clear journal voice, that would account for these changing moods, so for me it felt odd - to be completely engrossed in one part, but to feel almost indifferent in another.
I couldn't relate to the technical running parts, maybe because I'm not a runner. Although I did have spurts of longing to start running whilst reading (mind you, I severely lack the ability to run, even though I am in a pretty good shape). Actually it shows how well Murakami delivers his passion for running.
On a side note, there are quite a few baseball references that completely flew by me. It might have well been written in gibberish.
It felt mostly as a training log, with not as much literary and philosophical content as I expected. Again, probably my fault - mostly, my method for acquiring books is browsing the book-shop and buying what catches my eye (with a quick read of the blurb on the jacket and a short flip through the book to get a general idea of writing style), and this book was chosen exactly this way. If I read reviews, I probably wouldn't have purchased it (just because if doesn't seem to fit my taste), but I do not regret reading it.
All in all, it seems to be just not my kind of book, without having anything really wrong about it. I think runners would enjoy it more than other audiences. I can't say anything about fans of Murakami - because I've yet to read any of his other works and I can't say if there's any similarity in the writing style (this statement would probably be revised once I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, though I have no idea when that will be)....more